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Connect with strangers through 'Parallel Cities' project

Posted on Aug 04, 07:57PM | IANS

How would you feel if on entering a hotel room, you find the housekeeping staff taking you through each and every step of his daily duties and narrating the emotions he undergoes while doing the job?

Swiss documentary and theatre director Stefan Kaegi said such initiatives helped a person empathise with a stranger's life and respect the professions of those about whom one would not otherwise have cared.

"It is sort of like a biography of people's lives. It is a bit like the flash mob. It makes you experience a stranger's life, the different sides to a city and people you never thought existed," says Kaegi, while launching 'Parallel Cities' - which makes stages out of public spaces used every day.

The project comes to Kolkata Dec 10 as part of the Germany and India 2011-2012: Infinite Opportunities, a 16-month programme series celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two nations.

The 10-day 'Parallel Cities' initiative was launched in Max Mueller Bhawan Saturday.

"'Parallel Cities' provides us a different perspective about cities, their inhabitants and the spaces they inhabit," he says.

After being a roaring success in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Warsaw and Zurich since its inception in 2010, the project will be on show here till Dec 21.

Jointly curated by Kaegi and Argentine writer and theatre director Lola Arias, the project's theme is functional and seemingly uninteresting spaces such as hotel rooms, factories, shopping centres, and libraries which lead a parallel existence all across the world.

As part of 'Parallel Cities', these places are transformed into observation stations for situations or interventions devised by artistes.

The unique project is co-presented by The Hebbel am Ufer (HAU), a Berlin-based production house and The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.

Some of the performers are singers, others writers, passers-by or even the audience.

'Parallel Cities' will be in Delhi in January.